This Carrot Cake Bread Recipe is cake in carrot cake loaf form! It’s just as easy to make as my moist Carrot Cake with Pineapple, but because this carrot cake loaf recipe is made in a loaf pan, it’s a bit more casual. Share with an orange spiked cream cheese frosting, or enjoy without. Either way, it’s perfect for all your occasions and general snacking! | Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Bob’s Red Mill.
A Classic Carrot Cake Bread (Carrot Cake Loaf)
How do you like your carrot loaf cake? With or without pineapple, raisins, extra moist, dense, lots of carrots, pecans or walnuts, with or without coconut… there are SO many ways!
One thing we can all agree on is carrot cake is a classic loved by many in any form, and for good reason! Whether it’s bread, cake, or cupcakes, there are certain characteristics carrot cake should have:
- soft and has a super moist crumb
- easy to make quick bread style
- not too sweet
- lots of shredded carrots and a hit of cinnamon
Although this easy carrot loaf cake recipe can be enjoyed without cream cheese icing, I highly recommend including it!
If you’re familiar with my Carrot Cake Recipe with Pineapple and Carrot Cake Cupcakes you’re going to love this Carrot Cake Loaf (aka Carrot Cake Quick Bread)!
Ingredients for Carrot Cake Bread Recipe
- Nuts – enjoy with pecans or walnuts. Because the crumb is tender, be sure to chop em’ fine. You can leave them out if you like.
- Bob’s Red Mill Organic All Purpose Flour is my go-to AP flour. It’s a high quality flour that produces consistent results every time.
- Cornstarch – I add just a bit to lighten the cake
- Spices – ground cinnamon and ginger give this carrot loaf cake a hint of spice.
- Orange Zest and Juice – a bit of zest and juice for the batter and zest for the cream cheese icing. It really brightens the carrot bread.
- Vanilla – pure vanilla extract for the loaf and vanilla bean paste, vanilla bean or extract for the icing.
- Oil – use melted coconut oil or canola oil (as seen in this post).
- Eggs – large, pastured, organic if possible.
- Brown Sugar – for an extra moist carrot cake and maple edge, it complements the carrots beautifully.
- Cane Sugar – offers a slight sugary crust on top – it’s lovely!
- Yogurt – whole milk or Greek yogurt for tang and a moist cake.
- Carrots – use fresh carrots and shred on the fine grater setting of a food processor or the medium grating side of a box grater. Pre shredded, while convenient, are often dry.
Quick Guide: How to Make a Moist Carrot Cake Loaf Recipe
A few fresh ingredients and just a little prep make a delicious recipe for carrot bread every time. I recommend weighing ingredients for best outcome. In summary, here’s how to make this easy carrot cake in a loaf pan (see recipe card for details):
- First, while the oven is preheating, toast the nuts.
- Second, shred the carrots with a fine grater on a box grater or food processor attachment and prep your loaf pan.
- Third, chop the nuts.
- Fourth, in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, spices and other dry ingredients together.
- Fifth, in a large bowl, whisk the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and juice together, then mix in the flour mixture.
- Next, fold in the yogurt then, fold in the nuts and shredded carrots.
- Last, transfer the batter to the loaf pan and bake.
Use this time to whip up the vanilla and orange spiked cream cheese icing! Simply beat the butter until light and creamy, then mix in the cream cheese. Sift in the powdered sugar, zest and vanilla. Beat for just under a minute until creamy.
Ingredients Make All the Difference
Choosing high quality ingredients is important for flavor and health. It’s a reflection of the love and attention that goes into each recipe I create for my family, friends and the Vanilla And Bean community.
Made in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill, I’m delighted to share their pantry staples with you, highlighting a brand I trust for quality ingredients. I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour in this carrot loaf cake recipe and many others. It’s a high quality flour that produces consistent results every time and an ingredient you’ll always find in my pantry.
Carrot Cake Bread FAQs And Variations
What is the Difference Between Carrot Bread and Carrot Cake?
Generally, since carrot cake is made with oil, it easily transitions to carrot bread. Both are technically considered quick breads since it’s the mixing method used for both. The main difference is which type of pan the cake/bread is baked in. Carrot bread is considered more casual than a carrot cake and can be shared with or without icing.
How Long Will Carrot Cake Keep?
Because cream cheese needs to be refrigerated, if iced, this carrot loaf recipe needs to either be consumed, refrigerated or frozen within three hours. If the icing is left off, the cake can be stored covered at room temperature for up to three days. Simply slather individual pieces with room temperature icing.
Can I Add Raisins to Carrot Cake Bread?
You can add currants (small raisins) to this recipe. Add 1/2 cup (90 grams) with the carrots. If they seem dry, soak em’ in hot water for about 15 minutes then drain. You can add a few tablespoons of rum to the soaking water if you like!
Can I Leave the Nuts Out of Carrot Loaf Cake?
It’s your choice. In or out!
A Few Recipe Tips
- The Oil: If using solid coconut oil as opposed to canola, make sure it’s melted and warm to the touch just before mixing the ingredients. You’ll notice the batter will stiffen as all the ingredients are mixed. As the coconut oil cools, it solidifies, so the batter becomes stiff and heavy. Simply transfer the batter to the pan and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly, pressing the batter into the pan. Canola is liquid at room temperature so produces a looser batter (it’s pictured in this post). Either can be used in this recipe!
- Freezer Friendly? This moist carrot cake loaf recipe freezes beautifully, iced or uniced.
- Cream Cheese Icing: This orange spiked cream cheese icing is not too sweet. If you like a little more sweet, add an additional tablespoon at a time to taste.
- No Icing: for a no icing carrot cake loaf, simply omit it!
For more recipes using Bob’s Red Mill Organic All Purpose Flour and other fabulous ingredients, head to their website.
More Spring Baking Recipes to Try
- Chocolate Chip Mini Egg Cookies
- Carrot Cake with Pineapple and Mascarpone Icing
- Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- Hot Cross Buns with Rum Soaked Currants (freestyle!)
Did you make this recipe? If so, leave a comment and rating below as it helps others find this recipe (and I love hearing from you!). If you’re on Instagram, be sure to take a picture and tag @VanillaAndBean so I can see and share in stories!
Carrot Cake Bread Recipe
For the Cake/Bread
- 3/4 cup (80 grams) Pecans or Walnuts
- 1 1/4 cup (175 grams) Unbleached All Purpose Flour I use Bob's Red Mill
- 1 tablespoon Corn Starch
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/3 cup (70 grams) Dark Brown Sugar or light, packed
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) Cane Sugar
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) Coconut Oil melted and warm to touch, or Canola Oil
- 1 Large Orange zested and 2 tablespoons of orange juice
- 2 Whole Eggs room temperature* see note
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) Unsweetened Whole Milk Yogurt or Greek Yogurt
- 1 1/4 cups (160 grams) Finely Shredded Carrots packed, about 3 medium carrots
For the Icing
- 5 tablespoons Unsalted Butter room temperature
- 7 ounces (200 grams) Cream Cheese room temperature
- 1/3 cup (40g) Powdered Sugar sifted
- 1 Large Orange zested
- 1/2 Vanilla Bean scraped, or use 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Orange Juice fresh squeezed, a few teaspoons for loosening the icing if needed.
For the Cake/Bread
- Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Place the nuts on a small sheet pan and put them in the oven while the oven is preheating. Toast the nuts for about 15 minutes, or until the nuts are fragrant and starting to turn slightly darker. Chop fine when cool. Set aside.
- Grease a 9 inch by 5 inch (23 centimeters by 13 centimeters) loaf pan thoroughly on the all sides and bottom. Be sure to get the corners good! Line the pan with parchment paper, just one strip across the bottom and sides will act as a handle to remove the bread once baked. Clip the sides of the parchment to the pan if desired.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, corn starch, ginger, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the brown sugar, cane sugar and oil until ingredients are combined, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs, orange zest and juice and vanilla. Whisk until the ingredients are emulsified, about 20 seconds.
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar mixture. Using a silicone spatula, gently mix/fold until no flour streaks remain. If using coconut oil, the batter will start to stiffen at this point because the coconut oil is cooling (solidifying). Fold in the yogurt until no white streaks remain.Working quickly, fold in the shredded carrots and nuts. If using canola oil, the batter should be thick but loose and almost pourable (pictured in the photos). For coconut oil, the batter should be stiff and thick.
- Transfer the cake batter to the loaf pan and using an offset spatula, smooth the batter into an even layer. If using coconut oil, spread the batter while pressing it into the pan. Tap the pan on the counter to disperse any air pockets. Remove the parchment clips if using.
- Bake the cake for 60-70 minutes. The loaf is ready when it's golden, a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean, the cake slightly springs back under gentle pressure at center, and the edges of the loaf are just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes on a cooling rack. Lift cake out and transfer to a cooking rack. Cool completely at room temperature before icing or covering (about 2 hours).
For the Icing
- Start with ingredients at room temperature. Place butter in mixer and beat on high with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Scrape down your bowl several times to make sure the butter is getting whipped. Add the cream cheese and beat another minute. Scrape down the bowl.
- Sift in the powder sugar, add the vanilla, and orange zest then mix on low until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Taste for sweet adjustment and add another tablespoon of powered sugar if desired. To loosen the icing, you can add a few teaspoons of orange juice.
- Store the icing in a lidded container, in the refrigerator, if not icing the bread after it cools. Bring to room temperature before slathering!
Ice the Bread/Cake
- Because cream cheese needs to be refrigerated, consider how/when you'll share the cake before icing it. An iced cake needs to be consumed, refrigerated or frozen within three hours. An uniced cake can set covered at room temperature for up to three days.Ice the Cake: Once the loaf cake is cool and just before serving, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Slice and share within three hours.Individual Pieces: Once the loaf is cool, slice the loaf and share with a dollop or slather of cream cheese icing. *Uniced carrot cake bread is lovely toasted or warmed, then slathered with cream cheese icing!
- Room Temperature: Store an iced loaf cake at room temperature (70F or less) for up to three hours. Afterwards, store the cake in the fridge, covered for up to three days. Before serving, pull the cake from the fridge and rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the fats to soften. Food safety says cheese should set out for no more than three hours. An uniced loaf cake can be stored covered at room temperature for up to three days.
- To Freeze: This cake freezes beautifully, iced or uniced. Simply allow the cake to cool completely, ice the cake or not, then freeze individual pieces on a sheet pan. Once frozen wrap snugly in plastic wrap or store in a lidded container. Store in freezer then thaw at room temperature for about two hours before enjoying. If iced, take the plastic wrap off before thawing so the icing doesn't stick. I've only tested freezing the iced cake for up to two days. Uniced will freeze well for up to two weeks. Unwrap and thaw at room temperature, covered with a cake dome.
I actually have a question. I see you have wax paper on bottom of your pan. I always shy away from this, because I’m not sure if the batter is going to seep under the paper and be a mess when cooked. Does that happen, do you still prep the pan, ??? I’m sure it’s a kindergarten question but I haven’t really had anyone to ask.
Hi Cindy! I line my pans with parchment paper (I do not recommend wax) for an easy release and handing after the bread is baked. To make sure no batter goes under the parchment simply oil or spray oil the pan prior to lining it. That way the parchment paper sticks to the pan. Let me know if you have any other Qs and if you give the cake a go!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
Fabulous loaf Traci! Perfect for the Easter brunch table! Looks so moist.I love the added orange zest and juice. And that cream cheese frosting!
Thank you Mare! The orange zest and juice really offers a lovely flavor profile.